Hail King Mehul and Queen Sanjana - Supreme Rulers of Kenyan Chess For 2014

The weekend of  12th to 14th December 2014 saw the 2014 Kenya National Championship being held at the Kenyatta University, SSBC Hall, Thika Road, Nairobi.

Over 110 players converged at the venue to battle it out in two separate sections - Open and the Ladies.

I did not attend and hence cannot give you some nice photos of the event apart from the prize giving ceremony. 

This event attracted a lot of emotions as usual.  The winner of the Open Section was controversial blogger Mehul Gohil.  Many will recall that Mehul Gohil did not make it for the 2014 Tromso Chess Olympiad after being locked out by alleged game fixing in the final stages of the selection tournament.  There was an operation called "OMO" - "Operation Mehul Out" which was run by some of the participants and their sponsors.  The effect of this was Mehul went underground and only re-surfaced on 30th November 2014 during the Speed Chess event organised by Ramgarhia Youth Association at the Sikh Union Club.
2014 Kenya National Champion during the 2014 RYA chess festival
 Mehul returned with a bang and won the event with a perfect score of 8/8 with the final game against Ricky Sang.

The 2014 Ladies Championship attracted an ugly incident which is a big shame on Kenyan Chess.   The winner was 17 year old Sanjana Deshpande who was clear winner with 6.5/8 points.  Sanjana is an Indian passport holder but resident of Kenya and hence eligible to take part in the event.  After she won the event there was an apparent attempt to hijack the title from her due to the fact that she was not Kenyan.  I have not been able t find out who was responsible for this action but I am deeply ashamed by this action.  Sanjana beat the whole field and won by a clear margin.

Sanjana Deshpande in action during the RYA Chess Festival
In the end commons sense prevailed and she was awarded the prestigious prize as the 2014 Kenya National Champion.

Proud Winners pose in front of officials of Chess Kenya - Photo from Satish Despande

Details of the event are shown below.

Open - http://www.chess-results.com/tnr154873.aspx?lan=1&art=4&wi=821
Ladies -http://www.chess-results.com/tnr154874.aspx?lan=1&art=4&wi=821

Tournament Details are shown below;

The details of both the OPEN and LADIES sections are as follows:
  1. Friday, 12th - 8.30 am to 6.30 pm
  2. Saturday, 13th - 8.00 am to 6.00 pm
  3. Sunday, 14th - 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Type: Individual event

Eligibility: All (Citizens, Residents and Non-residents)
Mode of Play:  8 rounds Swiss system
Time Control: 90 minutes per player to finish the game

Walkover Time: 30 minutes (with the exception of round 1, which will have no default losing time)
Participation Fee: 
  1. Kenyan residents: Ksh. 1000
  2. Non-residents: Ksh. 1500
  3. Juniors: Ksh. 500
Registration Deadline: 12 pm on Thursday, 11th December 2014
The prize structure will be announced/communicated before end of day, Sunday, 7th December 2014

Friday, 12th December 2014
  • 8.00 am to 8.15 am: Arrival
  • 8.15 am to 8.25 am: Technical meeting & briefing of rules
  • 8.30 am to 11.30 am: Round 1
  • 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm: Round 2
  • 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm: Round 3
Saturday, 13th December 2014
  • 8.00 am  to 11.00 am: Round 4
  • 11.30 am  to 2.30 pm: Round 5
  • 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm: Round 6
Sunday, 14th December 2014
  • 9.00 am  to 12.00 am: Round 7
  • 1.00 pm  to 4.00 pm: Round 8
  • 4.00 pm to 5.00 pm: Closing Ceremony and Prize Giving

German School Host Very Successful Chess Tournament

All roads led to German School on 15th November 2014 when German School (Michael Grzimek) hosted it's first ever chess tournament.  See their website -


Action was fast and furious on this cold and wet morning with 54 kids from 8 schools battling it out.  Did tears flow at the end?  Certainly they did .  One kid was inconsolable when he lost his last game to one of the tournament winners.

Some of the glittering trophies up for grabs

The German School went out of it's way to make sure that this event was spectacular in a Kenyan way.  Consider the following that happened;

1. Free drinks and snack for all players and parents
2. Flowers on the arbiters desk
3. PA system
4. Projector
5. National anthem for Kenya and Germany played at the start
6. Live transmission of chess events from around the world

Many stakeholders were concerned that on the same day Terrian Chess Academy were hosting an event on the same day.  That event attracted a total of 45 players!  This meant that we had almost 100 kids playing chess that Saturday.  It just proves that Nairobi is big enough for 2 or possible 4 chess tournaments on the same day.

Krishi Shah of Peponi School put on a fine display to win the event with 6/6.

I bring you more photos from this amazing event.

Peponi School were the winners

The playing hall

Add caption

Kids have some friendly games

The brain child of the tournament Ms Phline Myburgh Headmistress of German
 School with Kim Bhari who helped

Peponi School Coach Mr Andanje holds the winners trophy
Final standing

1-2|Krishi Nishil Shah, ||1200||Peponi|6|14.5|21.0|21.0
|Aeson Chowdhry, ||||Peponi|6|14.0|21.0|21.0
3-4|Mohit Srungarapu, ||1200||Oshwal|5|13.5|21.5|16.0
|Aunam Shah, ||||Peponi|5|12.5|18.5|20.0
5-6|Ebenezer Smith, ||||Braeburn|4.5|15.5|22.5|16.0
|Ignazio Rizzini, ||||Peponi|4.5|12.5|18.0|16.0
7-13|Clinton Musalia, ||||Elimu House|4|17.0|25.5|16.0
|Arnav Shashikant Kachra, ||1200||Samaj School|4|16.5|25.5|15.0
|Darshan Shah, ||1200||Oshwal|4|16.5|25.0|18.0
|Viraj B Shah, ||||Peponi|4|13.0|20.0|13.0
|Gregor Heinemann, ||||German School|4|11.5|17.5|15.0
|Antoni Zeyer, ||||German School|4|11.5|15.5|12.0
|Jacobo de Mesa, ||||Peponi|4|11.0|15.5|11.0
14-21|ANUSHUMAN GUPTA, ||||Braeburn|3.5|15.5|22.5|12.5
|Tia Shrivatsava, ||||Braeburn|3.5|14.5|20.5|12.5
|Amrita Jasbir Suri, ||||Peponi|3.5|14.0|22.0|15.5
|Aryan Shashikant Kachra, ||1200||Samaj School|3.5|13.5|21.5|13.5
|Bianca Rizzini, ||||Peponi|3.5|12.0|17.5|11.0
|Oskar Herrmann, ||||German School|3.5|11.5|16.5|11.5
|Garesh Rangaiyan, ||||Peponi|3.5|10.5|15.0|11.0
|Moses Kimani (s/o Vernoic, ||||Elimu House|3.5|8.0|14.5|9.5
22-31|Adrien Chung, ||||Braeburn|3|17.5|24.5|15.0
|Amisha Amit Rathi, ||||Arya|3|14.0|21.5|12.0
|ALEJANDRO BERNARDEZ (Fren, ||||Braeburn|3|14.0|21.0|12.0
|Saim Shah, ||||Aga Khan|3|13.0|21.0|11.0
|Daksh Talwar, ||||Peponi|3|13.0|20.5|11.5
|Derrick Kariuki, ||||Elimu House|3|13.0|20.0|10.5
|Jadyn Chowdhury, ||||Peponi|3|11.5|17.5|11.0
|Adham Osman, ||||German School|3|9.5|14.5|7.0
|Bruce Ju (Braeside), ||||Braeburn|3|9.5|13.0|6.0
|Pranav Patani, ||||Peponi|3|9.0|15.0|10.0
32-40|Prashant Mishra, ||||Arya|2.5|13.5|20.5|11.5
|Debbie Wahu, ||||Elimu House|2.5|12.0|20.5|9.5
|MANAN DEO SINGH, ||||Braeburn|2.5|12.0|16.5|8.0
|Dennis Wachira, ||||Elimu House|2.5|11.5|17.0|8.0
|Divit Kukreti, ||||Arya|2.5|11.5|16.0|8.5
|Tirth Shah, ||||Peponi|2.5|10.5|17.0|10.0
|Siya Gusaini, ||||Braeburn|2.5|10.5|16.0|8.0
|PRIYAN NEAL PATEL, ||||Braeburn|2.5|10.5|14.0|6.0
|Imre Steyn, ||||German School|2.5|9.5|13.0|8.5
41-45|Alina Nanji (Aga Khan), ||||Aga Khan|2|12.0|16.5|6.0
|Aansa Asif, ||||Arya|2|11.0|15.5|6.0
|Ahana Neel Shah, ||||German School|2|10.5|15.5|7.0
|Jakob Maximilian Gunter K, ||||German School|2|10.0|14.0|9.0
|Vyom Kumar, ||||Braeburn|2|9.0|13.0|5.0
46-47|Maanav Shah, ||||Aga Khan|1.5|9.0|14.0|5.5
|Kunjal Kukadia, ||||Arya|1.5|8.0|12.5|5.5
48-51|Lelo Bernardo, ||||German School|1|12.5|17.0|4.0
|DEVANG TIWARI, ||||Braeburn|1|10.0|16.0|2.5
|Siddhant Mehrotra, ||||Braeburn|1|10.0|16.0|1.0
|Kunjak Kakadia, ||||Arya|1|6.0|6.0|2.0
52|ABOUG ALBINO, ||||Braeburn|0.5|10.0|15.0|2.5
53-59|Parv Patel, ||||Arya|0|11.0|17.0|0.0
|Fathima Mohamed, ||1100||Samaj School|0|0.5|0.5|0.0
|CLIFFE  ZUCULE , ||||Braeburn|0|0.5|0.5|0.0
|NABIL AHMAD FAHIMI, ||||Braeburn|0|0.5|0.5|0.0
|SIYA GUSAIN, ||||Braeburn|0|0.5|0.5|0.0
|Arnold Klein Mudidi, ||||Elimu House|0|0.5|0.5|0.0
|Moses Kimani, ||||Elimu House|0|0.5|0.5|0.0

Gary Kasparov Hands Chess Kenya Complex Chess Position

Gary Kasparov Hands Chess Kenya Complex Chess Position

We all remembered our Gary Kasparov visit Nairobi sometime last year and whose visit was covered by this blog.


The story does not just end there.   You will all recall that Gary tried very hard to unseat incumbent FIDE BigWig Kirsan  Ilyumzhinov during the just concluded 2014 Olympiad.  Gary was on the roll in Africa and Kenya decided to wholeheartedly support Gary's bid.

Of course we extracted something from Kasparov Chess Foundation.  We got a trip for George Githui to fly to China to attend a FIDE arbiter training course, Chairman Githinji was on the same trip.  George then flew again to Tromso to be part of his campaign team.

We got a 5,000 chess set donation from KCF.  Well that is the complex position that Chess Kenya is now facing.  The sets are stuck at the Kenya port of Mombasa awaiting clearance.  The duty/VAT payable is now close to KShs 1,000,000 or USD 12,000 and rising every day due to port charges.

Chess Kenya is hoping for the Ministry of Finance or Kenya Revenue Authority to waive the duties/VAT.  Well one can hope for this but it is not going to happen in this time and age.  Chess Kenya does not have the funds to clear the bill and hence the sets continue to sit in Mombasa.

Chess Kenya Chairman Githinji Hinga was informed by government officials that there would be no problem with duty/VAT and hence their decision to go ahead with the plan.

What will happen now?  My suspicion is that the goods will get auctioned after some time and that will be the end of it.

I guess I will eventually owe a set from KCF in the near future!!

Olympian Larry Kagambi Grabs 56th Nairobi Chess Club Championship With Fine Display Of Fighting Chess

23rd & 24th August 2014 saw Nairobi Chess Club host the 56th edition of its premier event at the famous Braebun School, Gitanga Road, Nairobi.

Former Olympian Larry Kagambi beat a strong field of 78 players to win the 56th Nairobi Chess Club Championship with a perfect score of 5 wins out of 5 games.  The strong field included Mathias Ssonko of Uganda who represented his country at the just concluded 2014 Olympiad in Tromso, Norway.

Larry Kagambi was the 1990 Kenya Champion and has represented Kenya at the 1988 and 1992 Chess Olympiads.  He was Chess Kenya Secretary General for a number of years as well. 

Larry Kagambi (right) in action

Other strong contenders included Peter Gilruth, and 4 players from the Kenya Olympiad Team, J Akello, G. Hinga, B.  Magana and J. Kamau, Riya Shah & Isabella Asiema.  Harold Wanyama a player from the Uganda National Team was also present.

Larry went home with a cash prize of KShs 20,000 plus Nakumatt Vouchers of KShs 6,000.  In second to fifth place was Mathias Ssonko, Mowlid Ahmed, Brian Kidula & Vincent Ngeno who each won KShs 10,350 plus individual trophies.

Aerial view of the playing hall
In ladies category Riya Shah was the winner with 3 points followed by Isabella Asiema,  Reanna Varsani & Subhika Grande who each won KShs 1,500. Top 3 went home with individual trophies.
In the Junior category the winner was Subham Rai with 3.5 points followed by Dev Shah, Srinjay Mukophadyay & Ritvik Pendyala.  Top 3 went home with trophies.

Brian Adorwa in action

In the Challenger Category the winner was Matiko Chacha (KShs 2,000), followed by Jackson Okoth Ochieng (KShs 1,000) and then Kevin Owen (KShs 500).  They each went home with a trophy.
The total prize fund of this event was just over KShs 70,000 making it one of Kenya’s largest events in 2014.  The sponsor for this event were former Olympians Rodgers Adai with KShs 50,000, Aslam Adam with KShs 15,000 and Humphrey Andolo with KShs 5,000.  Gift vouchers were donated by Mr Vasanth.

Chess Kenya Attempts To Flex It's Muscle

Chess Kenya Attempts To Flex It's Muscle

This is what I received over the weekend.  Seems innocent but later on further digging revealed much more than meets the eye.

This seems to be an attempt to curtail a certain group of chess players in Central Region of Kenya who have been extremely successful at organising various chess events which are huge by our standards.  Apparently an event at Baricho High School in Nyeri attracted a total of 261 players.  Unfortunately there is no way for us to verify any information at the moment.

Dear all,
 Please be informed that Chess Kenya (CK) is yet to sanction any juniors chess event and that any organizer wishing to organize a sanctioned Juniors event must provide the following details in his request for approval to CK.

1. Name and telephone number of organizer
2. In case it is a club it must be registered by CK
3. Name and type of tournament(whether rapid, classical ..etc)
4. Prize Fund which must be deposited to CK before-hand
5. Entry fee which must not exceed Kshs 300
6. Chief Arbiter of the event must be nominated or approved by Chess Kenya.

In return, CK will have the event rated and assist in publicizing it.

Membership Fees
We also take this opportunity to remind/appeal to everyone who is not yet a member to pay CK membership fee of Kshs 1200/= to Chess Kenya Account No. 01134162629300, Co-operative Bank of Kenya, Upper Hill Branch. or through M-Pesa pay-bill number 817300.

Chess Kenya urgently needs your support to be able to run effectively and to cater for the administrative costs..

Kind Regards

Joseph Atwoli
Secretary General. 
Blood Pressure Rises For Kenyan Chess Players

Blood Pressure Rises For Kenyan Chess Players

I am not sure how many of you are aware that Kenya has the most torturous method of choosing Team Kenya for the Olympiads.

It is a 3 phase fight.  The first event is an Open and the top 24 are selected to slug it out for the top 10 or 12. The top 10 then get embroiled in a 9-11 round robin contest.

Majority of the Kenyan "Wood Pushers" love this method.  There is some activity and may be Caissa will shine on them they get selected.   

This year Chess Kenya became a bit wise and allowed National Champion Ben Magana to be seeded into the final stage to make it 11 players.

This system is plain stupid and if you think about it is really designed to select a Nairobi Team to the Olympiad.  If you live out of Nairobi you need to travel 3 times to Nairobi to play.  Well that is plain dumb.

This year Humphrey Andolo one of Kenya's best players who resides in the UK requested to be seeded into the final stage.  He had requested to be given enough time to come over for the 1st stage but was not given the info.  He appealed to the Commissioner of Sports Gordon Oluoch who called up Chess Kenya Supremo Githinji Hinga.  We do not know what transpired between the two.  There are 2 stories.

As it stands now Andolo is out and this is final 10 who are now in the final stage and who join Ben Magana.

1. Joseph Atwoli 
2. Githinji Hinga3. Moses Andiwoh4. FM Mwangi Gateri5. George Nderitu 6. Brian Kidula 7. Steve Ouma 8. Brian Adorwa 9. Mehul Gohil 10. Geoffrey Mulaga

Will keep you posted on what is going on.

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